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St. Alphonsus Liguori
Liguori Publications ^ | 00/00/96 | staff

Posted on 08/01/2002 3:11:49 PM PDT by Lady In Blue

Edited on 08/01/2006 11:13:59 AM PDT by Sidebar Moderator. [history]

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*St. Alphonsus Liguori*
Feast Day: August 1


Alphonsus Liguori was born on September 27, 1696, in a suburb of Naples, Italy. He was the eldest of eight children--four boys and four girls. With a mother of Spanish descent and an Italian father, Alphonsus inherited an interesting combination of Latin genes. His father, Don Giuseppe, entered the navy at the age of fifteen and attained the rank of commanding officer of a flagship of the Royal Navy. He was an authoritarian who ran his family in the same manner that he commanded his flagship.

Alphonsus' mother, Anna Cavalieri, was a gentle soul who was plagued by scruples and given to a highly ascetical piety. Alphonsus inherited both the authoritarianism of his father and the religious scrupulosity of his mother. As the eldest son, he was also burdened with the expectations and obligations that comprised the Italian concept of primogeniture.

Belonging economically and socially to the upper class, Alphonsus received an excellent education in the humanities and in the study of civil and Church law and earned a double doctorate from the University of Naples. Since the physical conditions of myopia and chronic asthma prevented Alphonsus from following his father into the military, Giuseppe steered him to the legal profession, all the while planning an advantageous marriage for his son.

Alphonsus rejected both! After losing an important court case, Liguori walked out of the court in disgust exclaiming, "Ah, world, I know you now!" He likewise refused more than two paternally planned betrothals. His scrupulosity concerning sexual matters did not make him a prime candidate for courtship or marriage.

Under the guidance of his mother's spiritual director, the Oratorian Thomas Pagano, who remained Alphonsus' director for almost thirty years, he joined various Oratorian confraternities such as the one for young noblemen and, later, one for university graduates. These confraternities not only provided spiritual services for their members but also introduced them to apostolic work at the Hospital for Incurables and at the local prisons.

Alphonsus and his father also attended annual retreats given by the Vincentians and the Jesuits. It was during a Vincentian retreat in 1722 that Liguori experienced a radical conversion. Although he was a lawyer at the time, he rejected his secular lifestyle for a more spiritual one, and made a personal vow of celibacy.

Don Giuseppe was not at all pleased and the growing tension between father and son--both equally stubborn and volatile--reached the explosion point when Alphonsus announced his decision to become a priest. He considered joining the Oratorians or the Theatines, but his father would not hear of it. Alphonsus compromised and agreed to enter the diocesan priesthood. His father hardly talked to him for the next two years despite Alphonsus living at home and doing most of his clerical studies there via tutors. A large part of his apostolic formation was given by the Society for Apostolic Missions, also called the Propaganda.

Diocesan Priest

By August 1726, Alphonsus was on the verge of a psychosomatic breakdown and received the last rites. He slowly recovered and by December 21 he was well enough to be ordained a priest. He lived at home during the next three years and then moved to the Chinese College, an institute founded by Matthew Ripa who was a missionary who had recently been expelled from China. Liguori lived there with a young friend, Gennaro Sarnelli, not as a candidate for the missions in China but simply as a boarder. At this time, he introduced an innovative apostolic technique called the Evening Chapels. This was a program whereby Alphonsus and a few of his priest friends organized and trained lay catechists. These catechists would then work out of slums, catechizing the poor lazzaroni, the beggars, and street people of Naples.

Despite his apostolic activism, Liguori was bothered by long bouts of introspection and scrupulosity over his new obligations and burdens as a priest. One can read about these trials of mental anguish in a "spiritual notebook" that he kept at the time. Nevertheless, his mission preaching with the Propaganda continued.

Obeying doctor's orders, Alphonsus later departed from Naples for a bit of rest and recreation in the hills above the Amalfi coast. There, despite his work in the slums of Naples, he was shocked by the spiritual abandonment of the poor mountaineers and began catechizing them in the small chapel of Holy Mary of the Mountains. After returning to Naples, he continued to worry about these poor souls and wonder where were the priests who could help them.

Redemptorist Founder

After he returned to Naples, a woman entered his life! Sister Marie Celeste Crostarosa (1696-1755) was a Neapolitan just one month younger than Alphonsus. Their encounter brought about another radical change for Alphonsus. Celeste, a former Carmelite now living in a Visitation convent at Scala, began to claim divine revelations concerning the founding of a new institute for women, whose Rule she was to write under divine inspiration. Gossip about the Scala visionary was rife in Naples and news of her growing conflicts with the convent's spiritual director, Thomas Falcoia, spread. Falcoia was Alphonsus' director as well as Celeste's, and he asked Liguori to examine the troubled convent.

Alphonsus was impressed with Celeste and concluded that her project was indeed the work of God. What he did not know then was that within a year she would claim she had received divinely revealed plans for a new missionary institute of men, of whom Liguori was to be the founder. But his scrupulosity and his reluctance to make sudden decisions held him back and Alphonsus spent almost a year consulting theologians in Naples before he finally accepted his role as founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, which took its first shaky steps on November 9, 1732. Immediately, Liguori found himself caught in the middle of a multifaceted conflict involving Sister Celeste and Falcoia (now a bishop), who was revising Celeste's Rules for the men and the women. An interfering lay theologian also added fire to the emotional conflagration!

Liguori survived the growth pains of his new institute; Celeste was not as fortunate. By 1747 the Redemptorists numbered thirty-six members and were in great demand throughout the kingdom. They had a reputation of nearness to the people, a popular and solid preaching style, and a benign pastoral approach in the confessional. Fifteen years later, the Congregation had grown to one hundred fifty members.

On Easter Monday, 1733, Celeste was dismissed from the convent at Scala as the result of a conscience stand against the changes that Falcoia had made in her Rule. She also objected to his formalistic style of spiritual direction and to what she considered unreasonable demands for total compliance with his authority. After a hegira (journey to a more congenial place) to convents at Amalfi, Roccapiemonte, and Pareti, she finally settled at Foggia and established her own convent according to her original, unadulterated Rule. She died in 1755.

During his stint as rector major and itinerant missionary, Liguori joined the struggle against moral rigorism. The battle had raged between two prevalent systems of morality, the Dominicans supporting the rigorist stance (probabiliorism) and the Jesuits defending laxism (probabilism). Liguori's approach avoided the extremes of each theory, and he published his monumental Moral Theology, as well as the eminently pastoral Guide for Confessors. He also published a number of apologias, including The Moderate Use of the Probable Opinion. Although he had to walk a tightrope between the rigorists and the laxists, lest his own Congregation be suppressed, as were the Jesuits, Alphonsus' moral teachings were vindicated by the Holy See during his lifetime. After his death, Rome gave its seal of approval, declaring him a Doctor of the Church and the patron of moralists and confessors.

His literary output, however, was not limited to moral theology. His pen was as apostolic as his preaching. His one hundred eleven published works were directed to every category of Christians: bishops, priests, religious, and laity. His themes were solidly pastoral and his topics diverse. A sample of titles includes The Eternal Truths; Reflections for Bishops; A Précis of Christian Doctrine; Prayer, the Great Means of Salvation; Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary; Considerations on a Religious Vocation; Conformity to the Divine Will; The True Spouse of Christ; The Dignity and Duties of the Priest; Preparation for Death; and Against the Errors of the Deists and Materialists. Liguori's writing spanned fifty productive years.


In March 1762, Clement XIII appointed Alphonsus bishop of St. Agatha of the Goths. The diocese--which was near Naples, economically stable, and populated with clergy and religious was considered a "plum." Liguori was unhappy with the appointment, however, and respectfully asked to be spared the bishopric. But as with his role as founder, so too with the episcopacy; "holy obedience" won the day. The Pope gave his final decision in March, on the feast of Saint Joseph. Liguori viewed his appointment as a punishment for his sins!

The Redemptorists immediately petitioned the Holy See to allow Liguori to remain rector major of the Congregation, assisted by a vicar general. Though the request was granted, it later led to conflicts and dissension within the Congregation.

Alphonsus took possession of his diocese in July 1762. Despite his poor health, he threw himself into this new ministry with vigor. His first order of business was to reform the serious ecclesiastical abuses in the diocese, beginning with the renewal of the seminary and a spiritual rehabilitation of the clergy and faithful. Second, he attacked the practice of public concubinage, even soliciting the aid of civil authorities. He organized general missions for the diocese that utilized his own Redemptorist missionaries and those of the Propaganda. He also established social welfare programs for the poor and even opened his episcopal palace to the needy.

Recurring attacks of ill health and a growing number of complaints against his reformist zeal prompted Alphonsus to offer his resignation several times. Finally, in May 1755, Pius VI accepted his resignation.

Final Years

Alphonsus returned to Pagani "to prepare for death." Here he was to suffer the biggest disappointment of his life. The Congregation's Rule, which Benedict XIV had approved in 1749, had never received royal approval, making the continued existence of the Congregation precarious at best. Thus, in 1779 two Redemptorists, Fathers Cimino and Caione, were sent to negotiate with the royal court for approval. The eighty-three-year-old Liguori, deaf, practically blind, and unable to read or write, put complete trust in his emissaries. Unfortunately, they made extraordinary concessions to the regalist authorities, watering down the original papal Rule to the point of unrecognizability. The almost senile rector major was duped into signing this governmental Regolamento. The vows of religion were changed to mere oaths, the vow of poverty disappeared altogether, the oath of perseverance was omitted, and the local bishops were given the power over the internal affairs of the Congregation. General Chapters were wiped out of the text completely.

This document was delivered to Liguori in March 1780 and when the radical changes were explained to him, he went into a severe depression. The Pope was chagrined at the Congregation's acceptance of the Regolamento, which so blatantly contradicted the papal Rule, and dismissed Alphonsus and his Neapolitan confreres from the Congregation. Only the Redemptorists within the Papal States continued as canonically approved Redemptorists.

Six years after this tragedy, on August 1, 1787, Liguori died, still technically outside the Congregation he had founded. The process for his canonization began a few months after his death. His virtues were declared "heroic" in 1807. Nine years later he was beatified and in 1839 he was canonized. In March 1871, Pius IX declared him a Doctor of the Church, and in 1950, Pius XII declared Alphonsus the official patron of moralists and of confessors.

Adapted from "A Short Biography," Liguorian Magazine, © 1996, Liguori Publications. All rights reserved.

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On the General Judgment.

"And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with much power and majesty" -Matt., xxiv. 80.

At present God is not known, and therefore he is as much despised by sinners, as if he could not avenge, whenever he pleases, the injuries offered to him. The wicked "looketh upon the Almighty as if he could do nothing" Job. xxii. 17. But the Lord has fixed a day, called in the Scriptures "the day of the Lord", on which the Eternal Judge will make known his power and majesty. "The Lord", says the Psalmist, "shall be known when he executeth judgment " Ps., ix. 17. On this text St. Bernard writes: "The Lord, who is now unknown while he seeks mercy, shall be known when he executes justice "- Lib de xii. Rad. The prophet Sophonias calls the day of the Lord "a day of wrath - a day of tribulation and distress - a day of calamity and misery "-i. 15.

Let us now consider, in the first point, the different appearance of the just and the unjust; in the second, the scrutiny of con-sciences; and in the third, the sentence pronounced on the elect and on the reprobate.

First point. On the different appearance of the just and of sinners in the valley of Josaphat.

1. This day shall commence with fire from Heaven, which will burn the Earth, all men then living, and all things upon the Earth. "And the Earth and the works which are in it shall be burnt up" - II. Pet., iii. 10. All shall become one heap of ashes.

2. After the death of all men, "the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again "-I. Cor., xv. 52. St. Jerome used to say: "As often as I consider the day of judgment, I tremble. Whether I eat, or drink, or whatever else I do, that terrible trumpet appears to sound in my ears, 'arise, ye dead, and come to judgment' "-in Matt., C. v.; and St. Augustine declared, that nothing banished from him Earthly thoughts so effectually as the fear of judgment.

3. At the sound of that trumpet the souls of the blessed shall descend from Heaven to be united to the bodies with which they served God on Earth; and the unhappy souls of the damned shall come up from Hell to take possession again of those bodies with which they have offended God. Oh! how different the appearance of the former, compared with that of the latter! The damned shall appear deformed and black, like so many firebrands of Hell; but "the just shall shine as the sun " Matt. , xiii. 43. Oh! how great shall then be the happiness of those who have mortified their bodies by works of penance! We may estimate their felicity from the words addressed by St. Peter of Alcantara, after death, to St. Teresa: "O happy penance! which merited for me such glory"

4. After their resurrection, they shall be summoned by the angels to appear in the valley of Josaphat. "Nations, nations, in the valley of destruction, for the day of the Lord is near" -Joel, iii. 14. Then the angels shall come and separate the reprobate from the elect, placing the latter on the right, and the former on the left. "The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just "- Matt., xiii. 49. Oh! how great will then be the confusion which the unhappy damned shall suffer! "What think you", says the author of the Imperfect Work, "must be the confusion of the impious, when, being separated from the just, they shall be abandoned? "-hom. liv. This punishment alone, says St. Chrysostom, would be sufficient to constitute a hell for the wicked. "Et Si nihil ulterius paterentur, ista sola verecundia sufficeret eis ad poenam" - in Matt., c. xxiv. The brother shall be separated from the brother, the husband from his wife, the son from the father etc

5. But, behold the heavens are opened - the angels come to assist at the general judgment, carrying, as St. Thomas says, the sign of the cross and of the other instruments of the passion of the Redeemer. "Veniente Domino ad judiciurn signum crucis, et alia passionis indicia demonstrabunt" Opus., ii. 244. The same may be inferred from the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn" -xxiv. 30. Sinners shall weep at the sign of the cross; for, as St. Chrysostom says, the nails will complain of them -the wounds and the cross of Jesus Christ will speak against them. " Clavi de te conquerentur, cicatrices contra te loquentur, crux Christi contra te perorabit" -hom. xx., in Matt.

6. Most holy Mary, the queen of saints and angels, shall come to assist at the last judgment; and lastly, the Eternal Judge shall appear in the clouds, full of splendour and majesty. "And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with much power and majesty "-Matt., xxiv. 3O. Oh! how great shall be the agony of the reprobate at the sight of the Judge! "At their presence", says the prophet Joel, "the people shall be in grievous pains" - Joel, ii. 6. According to St. Jerome, the presence of Jesus Christ will give the reprobate more pain than Hell itself. "It would", he says, "be easier for the damned to bear the torments of Hell than the presence of the Lord". Hence, on that day, the wicked shall, according to St. John, call on the mountains to fall on them and to hide them from the sight of the Judge. "And they shall say to the mountains and the rocks: Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb "-Apoc., vi. 16.

Second point. The scrutiny of conscience.

7. "The judgment sat, and the books were opened "-Dan., vii. 1O. The books of conscience are opened, and the judgment commences. The Apostle says, that the Lord "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness "-I. Cor., iv. 5. And, by the mouth of his prophet, Jesus Christ has said: "I will search Jerusalem with lamps " Soph., i. 12. The light of the lamp reveals all that is hidden.

8. "A judgment", says St. Chrysostom, "terrible to sinners, but desirable and sweet to the just "-hom. iii., de Dat'. The last judgment shall fill sinners with terror, but will be a source of joy and sweetness to the elect; for God will then give praise to each one according to his works (I. Cor., iv. 5). The Apostle tells us that on that day the just will be raised above the clouds, to be united to the angels, and to increase the number of those who pay homage to the Lord. "We shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air "-I. Thess., iv. 16.

9. Wordlings now regard as fools the saints, who led mortified and humble lives; but then they shall confess their own folly, and say: "We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour. Bchold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints"- Wis., v.4, 5. In this world, the rich and the noble are called happy; but true happiness consists in a life of sanctity. Rejoice, ye souls who live in tribulation; "your sorrow shall be turned into joy "-John, xvi. 2O. In the valley of Josaphat you shall be seated on thrones of glory.

1O. But the reprohate, like goats destined for the slaughter, shall be placed on the leit, to await their last condemnation. "Judicii tempus", says St. Chrysostom, "misericordiam non recipit". On the day of judgment, there is no hope of mercy for poor sinners. "Magna", says St Augustine, "jam est poena peccati, metum et memoriam divini perdidisse judicii"-serm. xx., de Temp. The greatest punishment of sin in those who live in enmity with God, is to lose the fear and remembrance of the divine judgment. Continue, continue, says the Apostle, to live obstinately in sin; but in proportion to your obstinacy, you shall have accumulated for the day of judgment a treasure of the wrath of God. "But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath "-Rom., ii. 5.

11. Then sinners will not be able to hide themselves; but, with insufferable pain, they shall be compelled to appear in judgment. "To lie hid", says St. Anselm, "will be impossible -to appear will be intolerable". The devils will perform their office of accusers, and, as St. Augustine says, will say to the Judge: "Most just God, declare him to be mine, who was unwilling to be yours". The witnesses against the wicked shall be, first, their own conscience-" Their conscience bearing witness to them "-Rom., ii. 15; secondly, the very walls of the house in which they sinned shall cry out against them -" The stone shall cry out of the wall"- Hab., ii. 11; thirdly, the Judge himself will say-" I am the judge and the witness, saith the Lord"-Jer., xxix. 23. hence, according to St. Augustine, "He who is now the witness of your life, shall be the judge of your cause "-lib. x. de Chord., c. ii. To Christians particularly he will say: "Wo to thee Corozain, wo to thee Bethsaida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes "Matt., xi. 21. Christians, he will say, if the graces which I have bestowed on you had been given to the Turks or to the Pagans, they would have done penance for their sins; but you have ceased to sin only with your death. He shall then manifest to all men their most hidden crimes. "I will discover thy shame to thy face "- Nahum, iii. 5. He will expose to view all their secret impurities, injustices, and cruelties. "I will set all thy abominations against thee " Ezech., vii. 3. Each of the damned shall carry his sins written on his forehead.

12. What excuses can save the wicked on that day? Ah! they can offer no excuses. "All iniquity shall stop her mouth"Ps.,cvi.42. Their very sins shall close the mouth of the reprobate, so that they will not have courage to excuse themselves. They shall pronounce their own condemnation.

Third point. Sentence of the elect, and of the reprobate.

13. St. Bernard says, that the sentence of the elect, and their destiny to eternal glory, shall be first declared, that the pains of the reprobate may be increased by the sight of what they lost. "Prius pronunciabitur sententia electis, ut acrius (reprobi) doleant videntes quid amiserint"-ser. viii., in Ps. xc. Jesus Christ, then, shall first turn to the elect, and with a serene countenance shall say: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world "-Matt., xxv. 34. He will then bless all the tears shed through sorrow for their sins, and all their good works, their prayers, mortifications, and communions; above all, he will bless for them the pains of his passion, and the blood shed for their salvation. And, after these benedictions, the elect, singing allelujas, shall enter Paradise to praise and love God for all eternity.

14. The Judge shall then turn to the reprobate, and shall pronounce the sentence of their condemnation in these words: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire "-Matt., xxv. 41. They shall then be for ever accursed, separated from God, and sent to burn for ever in the fire of Hell. "And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just into life everlasting "Matt., xxv.46.

15. After this sentence, the wicked shall, according to St, Ephrem, be compelled to take leave for ever of their relatives, of Paradise, of the saints, and of Mary the divine mother. "Farewell, ye just! farewell, O cross! farewell, O Paradise! farewell, fathers and brothers: we shall never see you again! farewell, O Mary, mother of God !" Then a great pit shall be opened in the middle of the valley: the unhappy damned shall be cast into it, and shall see those doors shut which shall never again be opened. O accursed sin! to what a miserable end will you one day conduct so many souls redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ! O unhappy souls! for whom is prepared such a melancholy end. But, brethren, have confidence. Jesus Christ is now a father, and not a judge. He is ready to pardon all who repent. Let us then instantly ask pardon from him.

1 posted on 08/01/2002 3:11:49 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: *Catholic_list; father_elijah; Salvation; nickcarraway; JMJ333; american colleen; NYer
2 posted on 08/01/2002 3:15:41 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Lady In Blue
Thanks LIB. I know this is a weird thing to notice, but in every depiction of the good saint his head is very large! Imagine he must have had a sharp brain! Sharp as a tack!
3 posted on 08/01/2002 3:23:57 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: JMJ333
hehehe! You know something,I heard years ago that people with high,large foreheads are very intelligent! I have a high forehead,so that high intelligence,doesn't always apply! hehehe! You're welcome.Glad you came on board.
4 posted on 08/01/2002 4:15:28 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: JMJ333
hehehe! You know something,I heard years ago that people with high,large foreheads are very intelligent! I have a high forehead,so that high intelligence,doesn't always apply! hehehe! You're welcome.Glad you came on board.
5 posted on 08/01/2002 4:16:46 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: JMJ333
OOPS! Sorry for the double post.
6 posted on 08/01/2002 4:17:55 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Lady In Blue
7 posted on 08/01/2002 4:19:39 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Lady In Blue
Nonsense! You're a powerhouse of knowledge, especially on our religion!

And I don't mind an extra bump now and again! More people see the thread that way!

And glad to be on board! Thanks for having me! =)

8 posted on 08/01/2002 4:20:50 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: nickcarraway
Thank you.I never knew that St.Alphonsus mother was Spanish.The author is right,his mix of Latin ancestry is very interesting.I wonder if his dad forgave him for becoming a priest?
9 posted on 08/01/2002 8:36:02 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: JMJ333
Thank you,JMJ333.That's a very nice thing to say. I used to be kind of embarrased about my forehead.Now,I don't care.That's the beauty of growing old! hehehe!
10 posted on 08/01/2002 8:39:35 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Lady In Blue
Redemptorist Ping!
11 posted on 08/01/2002 10:15:52 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Lady In Blue
Bumping for today.

August 1, 2003
12 posted on 08/01/2003 9:45:54 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, August 1, 2005! BTTT!

13 posted on 08/01/2005 7:56:20 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
American Catholic’s Saint of the Day

August 1, 2005
St. Alphonsus Liguori

Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement. In his day, he fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.

At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups.

He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over.

Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions.

He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese.

His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united.

At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent.

Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of the great works on that subject, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.


St. Alphonsus was known above all as a practical man who dealt in the concrete rather than the abstract. His life is indeed a “practical” model for the everyday Christian who has difficulty recognizing the dignity of Christian life amid the swirl of problems, pain, misunderstanding and failure. Alphonsus suffered all these things. He is a saint because he was able to maintain an intimate sense of the presence of the suffering Christ through it all.


Someone once remarked, after a sermon by Alphonsus, "It is a pleasure to listen to your sermons; you forget yourself and preach Jesus Christ."

14 posted on 08/01/2005 8:35:51 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

** and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.**

I think I may have seen this book in the basket for First Friday Adoration.

15 posted on 08/01/2005 8:38:09 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue

BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liquori, August 1, 2006!

16 posted on 08/01/2006 11:10:10 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
Reading From a sermon by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, bishop
On the love of Christ
All holiness and perfection of soul lies in our love for Jesus Christ our God, who is our Redeemer and our supreme good. It is part of the love of God to acquire and to nurture all the virtues which make a man perfect.
Has not God in fact won for himself a claim on all our love? From all eternity he has loved us. And it is in this vein that he speaks to us: “O man, consider carefully that I first loved you. You had not yet appeared in the light of day, nor did the world yet exist, but already I loved you. From all eternity I have loved you”.
Since God knew that man is enticed by favours, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: “I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me”. And all the gifts which he bestowed on man were given to this end. He gave him a soul, made in his likeness, and endowed with memory, intellect and will; he gave him a body equipped with the senses; it was for him that he created heaven and earth and such an abundance of things. He made all these things out of love for man, so that all creation might serve man, and man in turn might love God out of gratitude for so many gifts.
But he did not wish to give us only beautiful creatures; the truth is that to win for himself our love, he went so far as to bestow upon us the fullness of himself. The eternal Father went so far as to give us his only Son. When he saw that we were all dead through sin and deprived of his grace, what did he do? Compelled, as the Apostle says, by the superabundance of his love for us, he sent his beloved Son to make reparation for us and to call us back to a sinless life.
By giving us his Son, whom he did not spare precisely so that he might spare us, he bestowed on us at once every good: grace, love and heaven; for all these goods are certainly inferior to the Son: He who did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for all of us: how could he fail to give us along with his Son all good things?

17 posted on 08/01/2007 9:56:34 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Lady In Blue
St. Alphonsus Liguori

Saint Alphonsus Liguori,
Bishop & Doctor of the Church

August 1st

"Copiosa apud eum redemptio"
"With Him there is Plentiful Redemption"  


Born September 27, 1696.
Ordained a priest on December 21, 1726
Founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist) in 1732.
Died at Nocera de' Pagani, August 1, 1787.
Canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.
Declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871.
Patron of Confessors and Moral Theologians.

you constantly build up your Church
by the lives of your saints.
Give us the grace to follow St. Alphonsus
in his loving concern for the salvation of men,
and so come to share his reward in heaven.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

First Reading: Romans 8:1-4
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-19
"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

18 posted on 08/01/2008 8:50:17 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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